Is there anything better than the flavors of fresh spring fruits and vegetables? As the weather warms up and the crops begin to ripen, farmers markets and the grocery store are full of sweet and delicious spring produce, making it the perfect time of year to try out new healthy recipes.
- Guacamole: Rich and creamy guacamole is a fantastic addition to your favorite Mexican dishes, but it is also delicious as a snack or a dip, or even as a part of breakfast. Simply mash up an avocado with a fork and add the juice of a lime, some salt and pepper and freshly chopped cilantro. Feel free to experiment with other additions, too—diced tomato or onion is especially good in a guacamole. Skip the chips and serve with sliced veggies, like carrots or peppers, for a healthy snack. You can also try adding guacamole to a slice of whole-wheat toast for a twist on avocado toast.
- Spring vegetable soup: A vegetable soup is a fantastic way to highlight spring flavors, and it’s a perfect meal for those not quite warm spring days. Sauté a handful of chopped leeks and some sliced prosciutto in a little oil. Pour in chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add in white beans, spring peas, spinach, green onions, chopped asparagus and even a can of artichoke hearts. Simmer for 5-10 min until everything is heated through season with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top.
- Big salad: Hit your local farmer’s market or even a nearby farm and pick out vegetables (and fruits!) that you wouldn’t ordinarily pick. Find ingredients that are in season and pile them on. Roasting vegetables (think eggplants, peppers, tomatoes and squash) in a little oil, salt and pepper adds a unique and delicious flavor to your salad. Aim for lots of color and add in a protein source. Try smoked salmon, walnuts, black beans or grilled chicken. Don’t drown your salad in a high fat, high calorie dressing—try olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar instead.
- Baked frittata: Frittatas are a great way to highlight the delicious flavors of spring. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with a little non-stick cooking spray and layer in your fillings. You should cook your ingredients prior to using them in a frittata. In a separate bowl, whisk together 6-8 eggs and add a splash of milk. Season with salt and pepper and stir everything together. Pour the egg mixture into the dish and bake until set, around 15 to 20 minutes. The best part about this recipe is its versatility—you can use any vegetables you find at your local market. To take advantage of spring flavors, try baked asparagus and smoked salmon, or zucchini and sweet corn.
- Spring veggie stir-fry: Stir-frys are another great way to incorporate spring flavors into a healthy meal. Again, check out your local farmers market for some ideas, but squash, peppers, spring peas, bok choy, mushrooms and onions are all delicious. Sauté your veggies in a large wok with a couple of tablespoons of oil
- Kale chips: If you crave salty foods, like chips or popcorn, give this healthy alternative a try. Preheat your oven to 375. Grab a head of kale and chop into pieces; make sure to remove the tough rib that rubs down each leaf. Toss with a little olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Bake until your desired doneness, around 5-10 minutes for a crispy “chip.” Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn. Season with salt and pepper or your favorite spices.
- Kale, black bean and avocado burrito bowl: Who doesn’t love a burrito? Unfortunately, this delicious meal is usually jam packed with fat and extra calories, especially when you take into account the tortilla, cheese, sour cream and rice. For this take on classic comfort food, sauté chopped kale with a little olive oil until soft and slightly wilted. Toss in a can of black beans (drained and rinsed) until warmed and season with salt/pepper and a little chili powder to taste. Layer this mixture in a bowl and sprinkle a little shredded cheese on top. Add on chopped tomatoes, salsa and diced avocado. A dollop of Greek yogurt makes a great substitute for sour cream, too!
- Spring pea and asparagus zoodles: Have you heard of zoodles? They are “noodles” made from a zucchini—the perfect spring-time food! You can use a special spiralizer tool, available at big box stores, or a julianne peeler or mandolin instead of investing in a new kitchen gadget, to create long noodles out of a zucchini to use an an alternative for pasta or other noodle-based dishes. For this recipe, simply sauté chopped asparagus and spring peas in a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add in chopped herbs, like parsley, basil or mint, and toss with your prepared zoodles. Once you get the hang of the zoodles, the possibilities are endless! You can even toss them with a simple tomato sauce for a healthy alternative for spaghetti night.
- Grilled fruit: Like having something sweet at the end of a meal? Try grilling some fruit for an awesome treat instead of a traditional carb-heavy or cream-based dessert. Stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums), pineapple and bananas work particularly well. Brush with a little vegetable oil and place on the grill for a few minutes until heated through and a little caramelized on the outside. Serve with a little fat-free or sugar-free whipped cream.
Another great way to enjoy seasonal flavors is to join a local CSA or farm co-op. You’ll receive a weekly or biweekly box of farm fresh and seasonal produce. It’s a great way to try fruits and vegetables that you’d ordinarily walk past in the grocery store. Plus, you know that the items in your box are seasonal, fresh and delicious.
This spring, take a chance and try something new! It’s a great opportunity to eat nutritious and delicious food by making vegetables the focal point of what you eat. For more recipe ideas, be sure to check out our recipes page that can inspire your kitchen for every season.